Thoughts on neglected clothes

Hello June! And hello everyone else. We’re well into a new month and well past the end of Me Made May. If you participated I hope you enjoyed the challenge. Maybe you’re keeping the fun going with #memadeveryday a great way of documenting your outfits more regularly.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

If you weren’t aware, I started my blog with Me Made May way back when. I had only a handful of handmade garments but I wanted the kick to wear them out in public and share my thoughts online. This was several years ago so it’s always like a kind of anniversary for me when I take part now. I wear my handmade wardrobe everyday now so I have to get a bit more creative with the challenge aspect of the month.

This year I pledged to wear unloved or neglected makes to see whether they could be resurrected. You can see the highlights of this experiments at the top of my Instagram wall.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

The main reasons for neglect were:

  • I hate ironing
  • Too short/too big/too tight
  • Needs nude lingerie
  • Inexperience on early makes
  • Style mistakes

This list contains both easily avoidable issues and things that you need to accept as part of life!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

I really don’t need to pick fabrics that rely on ironing. That’s my own stupid mistake. I know my lifestyle and patience levels aren’t compatible with ironing. I’ve got better things to do and I don’t get any enjoyment out of it! And nude lingerie is easily available so that has been pure laziness on my part. It’s been brilliant to rediscover some of those light-coloured garments.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Working out your style is a lifelong exploit. Anyone who doesn’t experiment can’t be having much fun with their wardrobe. You’ll create a few mistakes but you’ll get a clearer idea of what you like!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

While it was fun to try on some of those experimental garments again, I’m still not convinced they have a place in my wardrobe. Other than the maxi skirt… I really need to try that out a bit more!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Chasing a great fit can be an endless obsession with fluctuating success. Our bodies are constantly changing with age, activity and diet.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

And interpreting wrinkles and drag lines on garments can be a black hole of fit iterations that you have to start again when you revisit the pattern after your body has changed or even just if you’re changing fabric!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Lastly, I’m both fiercely proud and terribly embarrassed by my early makes. So I don’t think I’ll be ever able to get rid of them but they can stay out of heavy rotation.

I know I’m a little late with this round up but I hope you enjoyed stepping into the world of my neglected clothes. Sometimes I worry that it looks like everything goes dreamily for me but that’s not real life! Failure and mistakes are part of learning and succeeding.

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Little Black Jacket part 3 – day 1

This is part 3 of my mini series on the Chanel jacket course I attended in March.

See here for part 1 about inspiration and here for part 2 on materials!

Today I’m sharing my progress from day 1 of the course.

I packed up my machine, pattern, fabric, notions and a travel sewing kit and set off to Roundhay!

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Gillian the course instructor advised making a toile with at least one sleeve set in and bringing it along for discussion on the first day.

I traced all my pieces rather than cutting as I was sure I’d need to apply some “creative” sizing.

I traced a size 12 at the neck/shoulder/armhole/bust and graded out to a size 14 waist and 16 hip.

What I ended up with was pretty good I think. The shoulder length/armhole needed some adjustment but the fit across the bust waist and hips felt good. For a non-fastening jacket the fronts meet and it doesn’t gape open too much.
Overall I felt it could have been snugger and Gillian agreed. She also helped me remove 3cm length from the sleeve.

She advised that although the toile is an excellent indicator of fit it’s often better to fit the jackets again mid-construction because of the wool behaving differently to calico.

Down to business. First up we cut out fabric and lining pieces, remembering to take into consideration nap, pattern matching and in my case the one way shine of satin. I didn’t use interfacing in the end as my wool had enough stability.
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The construction was not as expected. Instead of constructing the outer shell and lining separately and the attaching the two, the corresponding shell and lining pieces were basted together and machine quilted.

This took the majority of the day. We chatted as we went and I made the most of the tips that were shared ready for when I make my second jacket. Here’s a few things I took note of:

  • For a truly expensive looking jacket it’s not enough to pattern-match your fabric in the seams and the sleeves, you should also be matching the pockets.
  • An inch of seam allowance helps you be safer rather than sorry with expensive fabric.
  • Don’t overpress your fabric… in fact barely touch it! Wool is most likely to show marks where you’ve squashed it.
  • It’s not worth overlocking your pieces even if they’re fraying like no-one’s business, as you’re just creating bulk at the seams and wool is plenty bulky enough! Just pink the edges if you need to do something.

Sorry it’s taken so long to post this. I’ve just started a new job and also Mr AR has been unwell. More excitement drafted and ready to post in Part 4 about day 2 of my class.

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Little Black Jacket part 2 – materials

This is second part of my mini series on the Chanel jacket course I am attending in March. See part 1 about inspiration here!

Today is all about materials!

The course is based around Vogue pattern V7975.
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(I’ve heard people rave about Vogue 8804 from the Claire Shaeffer Collection but believe its out of print now.)

The pattern calls for Wool and Wool Blends, Tweeds, Boucle, Gabardine and Mediumweight Linen.

Gillian, the instructor from the sewing school, was kind enough to ring me to discuss supplies.

We talked about how classic Chanel jackets are made from boucle or tweed and she explained about Linton fabrics, a leading stockist for Chanel.

If Chanel choose a fabric from Linton for their line the agreement is that no other bolt of that fabric will be sold for two years. This safeguards the design house from replicas appearing in the market and discourages sewers from making themselves a copy at home immediately.

The pattern does allow for other fabrics as I mentioned and Gillian encouraged me try something more trendy if I wanted. I’m not sure I’m the tweed jacket type so I’ve bought a beautifully soft (so lovely I want to cuddle it all day) plain black wool from Samuel Taylor. I picked an unobtrusive black poly-satin lining.

Interfacing is needed but the pattern doesn’t say what weight so I have a metre of medium and a metre of firm weight fusible interfacing and will feel it out as I go.

Notions are listed based on the view you are making. I’m opting for view B with the length of D/E.
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For this view I’m advised to get braid or ribbon for decoration. I decided to use grosgrain ribbon as trim and my current plan is to use it around the neckline, front and jacket hem, as well as at the cuffs and pockets.

Gillian also advised the course would cover some additional techniques for making the jacket not detailed in the V7975 instructions.

As well as interfacing we will be using interlining to add stability, so I have some cotton gauze ready to use.

Also we will be hand stitching chain onto the jacket’s interior hem. This is another traditional element of Chanel jackets, where the chain weighs down the jacket hem to produce a desirable drape. But I couldn’t find any attractive weighted chain so Gillian and I agreed I should use weights inside the hem of the jacket as well as attaching the admittedly light chain I had been able to purchase.

Finally I have three spools of black thread and have pre-wound three bobbins so I don’t have to halt progress if I run out. Part of me wants to use colourful thread in case I need to unpick but can’t think like that. Only success is allowed!!

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Winter sewing plans

Everyone knows how lame English weather is. Sometimes it feels like we jump straight from Summer to Winter.

But something that is different this year is that I’m embracing sewing a Winter wardrobe! I pretended Winter wasn’t happening last year by sewing sundresses but I can’t kid myself much longer.

I’ve got some quite ambitious plans. Here are the first few concrete ideas I have.

I hope you’re not too cold wherever you are.

And if you are I hope you’re whipping up something lovely to keep you warm whether it’s a blanket, a scarf, an outfit or a coat.

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What happened to all the dresses?

hmmmm…

When I first started sewing I thought it would be the perfect way to indulge my addiction to dresses. Somewhere along the way I ended up making a lot of tops, a few dresses and not much else! So where did all the dresses go? And all the other plans I had?!

This revelation struck me as I was ironing my nice white fabric with red polka dots ready to make another top. Firstly, I stopped because it seemed the washing machine hadn’t gotten it very clean… hmm where are these dirty marks from?! And secondly, once I had stopped I did some thinking about skirts.

It’s nearly summer and I don’t have many skirts. Very few for work especially. So how about a polka dot skirt? I have a prima pattern for an A-line skirt saved up for the task and from what I hear they’re simple enough to make. So I’ve re-washed my fabric ready to start this very soon.

I also made a promise to myself to figure out why I have a lot of fabric, and a lot of dress patterns, but very few FINISHED dresses! “Finished” is the core issue as I have FOUR partially completed lying in my sewing corner and plenty more that I’ve plotted but not started.

One of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) is a lovely pale green dress using a quilting fabric from The Skep – Knitting and Quilting shop in Farsley and a pattern from the book Famous Frocks by Sara Alm and Hannah McDevitt.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dress

I’m so close with this dress. I just need to power on. The pockets need refitting before I can sew the skirt to the top. Then I can wear it to work!

Anna Maria Horner, innocent crush voile in “Shattered”

Another is made from Anna Maria Horner fabric, the “Shattered” voile from the Innocent Crush line.

I bought the fabric very early on in my sewing career and immediately started sewing a Butterick 4443. WHY?! I should have held onto this fabric until I knew what I was doing and made something better than 4443 out of it?! Chuh. Now I look at it and think is there a way to turn this into a different dress?! I don’t think there is but I keep looking.

I should just finish it and hope I like the outcome.

The “why haven’t I finished you?” green striped dress

Third there is a green striped number which I finished poorly and it started to unravel before I’d even worn it! So I unpicked it to redo the waist seam using my overlocker. But then I never actually rebuilt it!

The reason is that it has an elastic waist casing and I doing HATE elastic casings even though they fit me great. I always make them about 1mm too small and work up a sweat trying to thread the stupid safety pin through. But I do love this fabric and the dress would be so easy to wear to work or during relaxing times so I should get my butt into gear and finish it!

Finally I have my Vogue 8723 Ikea dress to finish. It’s mocking me even now while pinned to my mannequin. But something is throwing me off. I can’t tell if the fit is off or is it the slightly too dark lining fabric or possibly the fact I didn’t understitch the seams properly? Well whatever it is I want to get back into this dress soon!!

All very shameful I know. I need to remedy this problem asap. I have so many other things I want to sew I’m getting so tormented about what to work on!! I need some organisation in my sewing life and to stop being seduced by new projects.

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